Kirk Herbstreit’s Quarterback Evaluation
Kirk Herbstreit is a college football analyst for ESPN. On Tuesday, April 17, he held a conference call discussing quarterbacks and round 1 prospects leading up to the NFL Draft. The 2018 NFL Draft will take place beginning on Thursday, April 26 and conclude on Saturday, April 28. This year’s draft will be held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
This is Kirk Herbstreit’s first time joining the main set for Round 1 of the NFL Draft. He will also be on College GameDay during their daytime coverage at the draft. Kirk mentioned that he is extremely excited about this unique opportunity. ESPN reached out to him to replace Jon Gruden, who has returned to an NFL coaching position. Kirk said this will be natural for him as far as comfort level. He is excited to bring a different angle to the show by speaking specifically from a college perspective.
Kirk’s Ranking Of Quarterbacks
The top quarterbacks in the draft have been discussed and ranked multiple times by several people. In Herbstreit’s case, he has a unique ranking order.
At number one, he lists Baker Mayfield. He believes Mayfield has the whole package including production, accuracy, and decision-making abilities. Next, he has Sam Darnold. He likes Darnold because of his arm strength, and his ability to improvise, but Kirk Herbstreit mentioned that Darnold “leave[s] the pocket prematurely.” Third, he listed Josh Rosen. Herbstreit likes Rosen as a player and doesn’t quite understand the narrative that has been painted of him in the media, but he mentioned that Rosen is noticeably uncomfortable under pressure. He said that when everything is “clean” 9/10 times Rosen will make the right read and throw. When improvising, however, his execution is not as good. At fourth, he ranks Josh Allen. Herbstreit said Allen is “the Carson Wentz of this draft”. He is a hard one to evaluate because he is coming out of Wyoming in the Midwest.
What Do You Need In A Franchise Quarterback?
Another quarterback topic that was discussed was the development of a franchise quarterback, and if there are certain traits that are crucial for these players to already possess before entering their NFL careers. From Kirk Herbstreit’s perspective, he said the ability to read defenses is a necessary skill to have going into the NFL. In college, Herbstreit described, on any given game day defenses will only show maybe 5 different looks. However, in an NFL game, there will be an upwards of 15. He used Nick Foles as an example of a great quarterback who can see the look the defense is giving, can understand what blitz they will be bringing, and know what the answer is offensively. Herbstreit said this comes from hours and hours of preparation watching film, which is something that Baker Mayfield has shown.
How Saquon Barkley Compares To Other Top Running Back Prospects
In a conversation about quarterbacks and round one prospects, the call took many shifts to discuss Penn State running back, Saquon Barkley. Kirk Herbstreit shared what he thought was most NFL ready about Barkley’s game. His ability to make people miss and catching the ball out of the backfield were the two main factors.
He discussed how the Penn State coaches realized that defenses would stuff the box against them, trying to stifle their running game once Barkley established a name for himself. To counter this, between his sophomore and junior year, Saquon Barkley worked on his route running ability. This helped involve Barkley in the passing game and pick up extra yards.
His power and his quickness are what make him special on the field, but Herbstreit also called him “the most humble superstar star you’ll ever meet”. Kirk discussed how Saquon Barkley is the kind of player who veterans will love, wants to outwork everyone else on the team, the quarterback will like him, and the offensive line is going to want to block for him.
Kirk Herbstreit referred to Barkley as a “once in a blue moon type of back” who stacks up next to any running back that has come out of the draft in the last 15 years.
In Regards To The Eagles, Some Thoughts On Tight Ends And Sneaky Picks
For the Eagles, it has been apparent that this will be an offensively dominant draft. The Birds have the #32 pick in the draft and are also without a 2nd or 3rd round pick. The Eagles have most heavily favored LSU running back Derrius Guice. However, with the last pick in round one, there is no telling if Guice will still be on the board.
A running back that Kirk Herbstreit referred to as a “sneaky pick” is Kerryon Johnson out of Auburn. He has been compared to Le’Veon Bell with his patient attack to the run game. This approach helped him notch 1,391 yards and 18 touchdowns in his senior year.
A tight end discussed in the call was Hayden Hurst out of South Carolina. Herbstreit said he didn’t appreciate Hurst as much during the season as he does now leading up to the draft. He said players like Mark Andrews (Oklahoma) get more attention because he is a bigger receiver that happens to be a tight end, which can create nightmare matchups for linebackers. However, Hayden Hurst is more of a traditional “old school” tight-end who is more physical at the line of scrimmage and “looking to hurt somebody.”
Feature Photo: College Football by Lummy, via Flickr